Santa Ana

59 Things To Do with Orange County Kids Before They Grow Up

Orange County may sometimes be considered second fiddle compared to Los Angeles for fun eats, kid-friendly parks, family outings, and outdoor adventures; but the OC has plenty of all of these—with the benefits of better air and less traffic (sorry, Angelenos!). If your kids are growing up the OC way, here are some key places to take them for the ultimate childhood experience behind the Orange curtain.

Got Early Risers? What To Do in LA While Everyone Else Is Sleeping In

If your life is like mine, it can sometimes feel like you're living on a farm... for many reasons—one of them being that your children wake up when the chickens rise. My kids are often revved up and ready to go at 6am or even earlier. So what should you do with all of that early morning energy? From indoor playgrounds to trampoline parks, we've got eight great ideas.

These 8 Trampoline Parks Offer LA & OC Kids Wall-to-wall Jumping

Bounce and repeat. What else do we need to say? Big kids, little kids, they all like to jump. Even Mom and Dad can occasionally enjoy trampoline time (though they might just prefer the trampoline park below that offers massage chairs on the sidelines). Bring a pack of kids for a birthday party, and they'll all sleep well afterwards; bring an antsy one on a rainy day, and watch the mood change for the better. Note that the 8 jumping gyms below can get seriously rambunctuous, but most offer special times or areas for toddlers and preschoolers. And if there's a stuntkid in your family, these are definitely addresses you need to know.

12 Family Memberships Worth Having As You Raise Your LA Kid

It can be hard to find places to go with the whole family without spending a bundle. When your kids let you know they love a place, it's a lot easier to go back there again and again (and again) if you become a member. Annual memberships allow you to enjoy all the perks and discounts a venue can offer (plus the tax write-off!). Here are a few of the most affordable and enjoyable places in LA to get memberships for the whole family. 

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Boo at the Zoo, Coast Open Streets, and Mark in the Park

It's beginning to look a lot like pumpkins, everywhere I go. And so it begins! The Harvest. The Corn Mazes. The Hatchimals  (not sure what that has to do with the season, but just go with it). We are on a crazed, giddy run to the end of the month.

But don't get spooked! Yes, there are scary things afoot. Yes, you can choose the dark and shadowy path. But you can also choose to welcome the season with laughs (and science!). You can fear the night or you can get in on the fun. Halloween is what you make it, and LA makes it easy to choose family-friendly. Or not.

Public service announcement for purists who wait to celebrate Halloween until, well, Halloween. There's still lots to do! This weekend sees festivals Greek and Korean, Manhattan Beachian and Encinoish. You can buy a ticket to the 20s, catch a plane, train, or (very small) automobileThis land is both your land and my land, and Children's Book World is 32. (Um, me too. More or less.) The streets of Santa Monica are open wide, and you can make your mark in Grand Park. So go out there and scare up some fun.

Keep reading for our favorite treats for this weekend, no trick!

Free Admission Days at 20+ Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

Love museums, but the prices make you think twice? If you have a large family, those tickets add up fast—which is particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center, and The Broad. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list for easy reference. Go ahead, bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free. 

15 Parent and Me Swim Classes To Keep LA & OC Babies and Toddlers Afloat

Kids dig water, and the younger we start them in it, the earlier they build the skills needed to swim confidently and safely. Mommy and Me – or Daddy and Me – classes are a fun and bonding introduction to a lifelong love of swimming. And lucky for us and our tots, there are classes galore all around the Southland. We know some Great Private Swim Classes for LA Kids, but the classes below are all about taking the plunge alongside your wee one. Dive into our extensive list of area Mommy or Daddy and Me classes.

American Ninja Warrior Kids Learn Parkour at this Freerunning Orange County Gym

If your kid bounces off the walls even after a full day of activities, you might be raising a little ninja warrior, and a candidate for Orange County's hip and hopping gym, Firestorm Freerunning & Acrobatics. This Santa Ana gym is owned and operated by local fitness guru Justin Taylor (who appeared on the reality TV show American Ninja Warrior). It's also a premier training site for parkour, the latest fitness craze to capture the imagination of active kids.

Very Eric Carle at Discovery Cube OC: A Very Imaginative Exhibit

Get lost in some toddler-sized blades of grass? Check. Make a dance floor change its image with every step? Check. Spin webs, create beautiful butterfly wings, get followed by a firefly? Check, check, check. We checked out the Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit at the Discovery Cube Orange County in Santa Ana, and all the romping, climbing, creating, and dancing kids let us know it's a great place to let your little ones' imaginations roam.

Weekday Picks for LA Kids: Thanksgiving Week Family Fun, Nov. 21-25

LA schools are already off for Thanksgiving, and there's a host of options to keep kids happy and entertained—including snow tubing at Chill and Snow Los Angeles and holiday-only events at the Los Angeles Zoo and the Discovery Cubes in Los Angeles and Orange County. And for an especially active activity, there's the Turkey Trot Los Angeles, one of several such runs in the Southland on Thanksgiving morning.  

If a homemade holiday meal is too much of a hassle, check out our list of restaurants serving up Thanksgiving meals Thursday. And, as always, there are plenty more ideas to be found on the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar, as well as our monthly picks in our November GoList. Read on for our favorite outings this holiday week.

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